Henry and Janet Jacobs

It’s never too late for love!  New residents Henry and Janet Jacobs proved it when they were married onFebruary 11, 2013, in Plymouth Harbor’s MacNeil Chapel.

The newlyweds first became acquainted 35 years ago when they were both members of the ‘Swedish Walking Club’ in Maryland.  Janet lived in Timonium and Henry resided in nearby Towson.

Years passed and their lives converged again about 25 years later.  According to Janet, “things got a little more serious” between them during the past couple years.  They decided to marry and Henry made all of the arrangements in just seven days.  He said, “There was never any question as to where we’d have the wedding; the chapel is beautiful!”

Twenty-six guests joined the happy couple — friends and family from Michigan as well as several cities throughout Florida.  Henry’s 18-month old great-great niece, Reese Rose, served as flower girl.  The ceremony was followed by a dinner in the private dining room.

 

Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay is proud to present Black Orchids, an exhibition of photographs by Ellen Gottlieb Steele, in the Mezzanine Gallery, March 12 – April 22, 2013, with open reception Tuesday, March 12 at 4:30 – 6:00pm.

Ellen Gottlieb Steele has been a printmaker-photographer for many years. Her works hang in many private collections throughout the United States and Europe. In 2006, one of her photographs was chosen to be shown in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.  Steele has had two one-woman shows in New York and this is her second show in the Mezzanine Gallery at Plymouth Harbor.

All of the images in this show are photographic. None of them have been altered by any computer-generated process. Their abstract nature is a result of the actual printing process itself. Some of them have been enhanced with the application of watercolor. The photographs were taken in Sarasota at Selby Gardens in 2012.

Black Orchids, an exhibit of photographs by Ellen Gottlieb Steele – at the Mezzanine Gallery at Plymouth Harbor, March 12 – April 22, 2013. Open reception, Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 4:30-6:00pm.

It’s not Broadway, Off or even Off-Off Broadway, but the Plymouth Harbor Players is on a streak of smash hits with this latest production,” The Bride on the 17th Floor.”  This is the fourth in the series of Don Wallace’s “..on the 17th Floor” adventures with residents at, ahem, ‘Puritan Cove,’ where there’s always a bit of humor, and this time, a who-done-it  with some suspense. Did the ending take you by surprise?

The Plymouth Harbor Players - The Bride on the 17th Floor

The Courtroom in "The Bride on the 17th Floor"

The charm of community theatre on any stage is the courage shown by amateurs in the spotlight. Some of the actors in “The Bride…” courthouse scene had to memorize 20 consecutive pages of script and lively dialogue.  That’s a tough assignment, even when you have the safety net of an off-stage prompter.

Those stars included Bill Brackett  as Lionel Willet, the defense attorney, and Arnold Freeman as Philip Bostwick, the accused gold-digger or mourning newlywed, take your pick.  The ornery Judge Stanley L. Bernstein got some extra laughs with Bobby Broderick’s characterization. Heather Shaw played the sharp prosecuting attorney, Leslie Giles.   Stage Manager Jeanne Nunn also provided advice to keep the courtroom scenes realistic.  Former stage manager Peggy Wallace had some fun this year as the ingénue, the lovely and well-to-do Virginia Brown who married Phil and then disappeared on their honeymoon cruise.

Over 25 residents were involved in making this production a success, many of them behind the scenes.  Naomi Wittenberg pulled things together as the producer and several volunteers created sets, managed props and assisted costume changes with limited space and resources.

Plymouth Harbor Players on Stage

Congratulations to the cast & crew!

Anyone involved would quickly credit their success to the inspiring professionalism of the show’s writer and director, Don Wallace, who’s done a bit of this before.  He started working with soap operas on radio and television after WWII. Perhaps you saw his early directing on The Edge of Night,or the two shows that he helped create, All My Children and One Life to Live.

Don says writing the story is not so tough, but directing is exhausting!  There were three rehearsals a week since early January and auditions just before the holidays.

“Our amateur actors have something in common with all the professionals I’ve worked with,” says Don. “As soon as they get the script, they have changes to suggest!”  But seriously, he says it is very meaningful to work with the Plymouth Harbor Players.  Urging them to keep up the pace of action is more of an issue than acting skill or lines, but that’s not the reason this is important.  Both he and his wife Peggy were in agreement, the stimulation of acting keeps everyone young and it’s often a much needed escape from all other daily worries.

Does Don have something in mind for “something on the 17th Floor” for next year? “Perhaps,” laughs Don, “If we’re not on a cruise to Antarctica!”

The Cast

Barry Dobson, CEO – Harry Hobson
Samantha Tobin –  Ann Williams
Lionel H. Willett – Bill Brackett
Philip Bostwick – Arnold Freedman
Chiquita Mathews – Francie Jones
Virginia Brown – Peggy Wallace
Millicent Murgatroid – Anne Moore
Leslie (Les) Giles – Heather Shaw
Bailiff – Louis Schneider
Honeybunch – Carol Lawrence
Jury Foreman – George Spelvin

Kudos to everyone ‘behind the scenes’ as well!  Residents: Naomi Wittenberg, John DeJongh, Bruce Wallace, Peggy Wallace, Jeanne Nunn, Alida DeJongh, Robert Lawrence, Pauline Thoms, Bev Wright, Nancy Gross and Norma Schatz.  Staff:  Maryanne Shorin, Karen Smith, Hugh Kelly and Jeanne MacArthur.

Plymouth Harbor resident Ann Brackett has spent a lifetime believing in the unlimited potential of girls when given the opportunity to grow.  Not so long ago, she was attending the annual Boys & Girls Club Luncheon, one of the largest and most inspiring fundraising events of Sarasota’s very busy “season.” She found herself sitting next to Sue Stewart, who was there representing Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Before long, they were sharing their mutual love for the tradition of scouting.

Ann Brackett Donates her Girl Scout uniform

Ann Brackett donates her vintage Girl Scout uniform to the Girl Scouts.

You see, being a Girl Scout when she was a child was so important to Ann that she had kept her uniform, proudly decorated with numerous badges to mark her achievements, in a keepsake box all these years.  An idea sprang out of her chance meeting with Sue: why not donate that uniform, now considered a rare vintage treasure, to the local Girl Scout council?  It was an easy decision to make and before she knew it she was visiting with current Scouts and sharing stories with them while they gazed at the proper dress uniform so different from the simple vests the girls wear today.When Ann was a child, there was a local Girl Scout troop meeting regularly at her church, which was right next to her school in Newton, MA. This made it very convenient for Ann to get involved.  Being an only child, belonging to her Girl Scout troop gave Ann the social interaction she craved. She enjoyed the opportunity it gave her to work with and become friends with girls beyond her circle from school or her neighborhood.

“In Girl Scouts it doesn’t matter what color you are or how you look. You are part of a family and everyone respects you,” adds Ann. “This outstanding organization has made our nation a much better place. Girl Scouts present positive role models, endless possibilities, and a clear path to making dreams come true. The positive influence of Girl Scouts has lasted a lifetime for me.”

Girl Scout uniforms

Over time transformations of the Girl Scout uniform.

Ann was an enthusiastic scout and some of her fondest memories were of summer camp. Each merit badge earned built her confidence and inspired her increased involvement over the years.  She feels it was Girls Scouts that prepared her for an unexpected challenge later in her life when she was called upon to care for her aunt diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Girls are strong when they help other people. Girls need to feel a responsibility to care for others and experience the joy that goes along with it,” she comments.

Ann was unexpectedly reunited with her Girl Scout leader, Edna Hockridge, 40 years after her scouting days. She was with her aunt at the doctor’s office, when Mrs. Hockridge, also in the waiting room, recognized Ann’s laugh. It was one of those unexpected, sweet moments to reminisce with her Girl Scout leader all those years later. “I guess I never lost my unique laugh!” exclaimed Ann.

“The staff and current Girl Scouts were thrilled when Ann offered to donate her beautiful, pristine, vintage Girl Scout uniform to Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Her gift serves as a reminder to all our girl members and Girl Scout alumnae that Girl Scouting is a lifelong circle of friendship, with shared ideals.

Girl Scout Vest

This junior vest is the Girl Scouts' uniform today.

“The powerful values – courage, confidence and character – are as relevant today as they were in Ann’s day. The insignia, badges and achievements proudly displayed on Ann’s uniform show girls today that what they do matters, and that they can take action to make the world a better place,” shares Sue Stewart, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

As a result of Ann’s recent connection with the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Plymouth Harbor is now partnering with a member of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida who is interested in fulfilling her Gold Award by rebuilding the Butterfly Garden, a special feature of Plymouth Harbor’s beautiful campus grounds.

Ann’s story is not unique.  In fact, many of the women living at Plymouth Harbor were Girl Scouts. It seems as if everywhere you turn, you meet women excited to share their memories as a Girl Scout. Whether it’s a fond reflection of their time at camp, a friendship formed fifty years ago that is as strong today as it was then, or the recent memory of a college student whose passion was ignited as a Girl Scout – the stories are everywhere.

We recently received an email from Plymouth Harbor resident Lou Newman with the following note:

I would like to introduce you to “Hootie” and “Hooter”, the two new resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay.  Although frequently heard, the owls are rarely visible because they have taken up residence high in the large Banyan tree at the northeast corner of the building. They likely have a nest in this tree; however, it is completely obscured by the dense foliage.  Is Hootie “pregnant? ”Only time will tell!”

Hooter & Hootie are resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor.

Image by Lou Newman: Hooter & Hootie are resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor

This little note accompanied by a stunning photograph that looks like he was in the tree with the owls is just another run of the mill day for Dr. Lou Newman, retired large animal veterinarian, now professional nature photographer.

Loy Newman with bear

Lou Newman photographing bears in the wild

Lou developed a curiosity about photographic techniques as a teenager, which evolved into a lifelong calling.Photography was a significant activity throughout his years as a rancher and veterinarian in Montana, and became of major importance when he left practice to become a veterinary college faculty member and pursue an advanced degree.  Photography was important in his roles as professor, pathologist, diagnostician, research clinician, and administrator.

During the 1990’s Lou prepared for a photographic “career in retirement” and the change to digital imaging.  Large animal medicine/surgery and wildlife studies had always been major interests and reinforced the progression to wildlife photography.  Lou’s passion is photographing the wildlife and birds of the Florida coast.

Of course, with Plymouth Harbor being situated on Coon Key in the midst of a natural bird habitat, Lou has become the photographic chronicler of many of nature’s dramas in our midst.  Here he alerts us to a potential nest of baby owls in our future and not too long ago, he played an even more active role in protecting our wild fowled young ones.

A Heroic Rescue for Stranded Chicks

In May 2012, Lou was on hand to rescue and document an entire Black Skimmer colony on Longboat Key that was threatened by Tropical Storm Debby. The storm had pushed coastal waters two to three feet above normal and large waves carried the water over the colony of over 400 birds with more than 100 active nest scrapes. The adult birds were all standing facing the wind in the lee of the buildings at the top of the beach; none were with the stranded chicks.

Willie Least Tern feeding its chick

Willie Least Tern feeding its chick

In his own words, “My initial reaction was to hope the adult birds would seek out their chicks. When this did not occur I returned to my vehicle to call beach monitors and bird rehabilitators for advice. When I returned to the beach half of the chicks had disappeared. Chicks were being buried by wind driven sand; and Laughing Gulls, and even a few Royal Terns, were gorging on stranded chicks. I saw only four chicks that somehow made it up the beach to the adult birds (and I hope were reunited with their parents). There were perhaps 50 chicks remaining at this point.”

“The stress of the day-long storm, flooding, relentless wind gusting to 40mph, biting wind-driven sand and opportunistic raiding gulls took a toll as I watched. It made no sense to stand by and watch remaining chicks perish this way. With help from others who arrived, it made sense to try to rescue the surviving chicks. We were able to find and pick up 32 live chicks. Gail Straight from Wildlife, Inc. on Anna Maria Island came to help and took the chicks to her wildlife education and rehabilitation center.”

Willie Least Tern with a Ghost Crab

Willie Least Tern with a Ghost Crab

Not surprisingly, Lou is active with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and has volunteered as a veterinary pathologist at Mote Marine Laboratory, as a veterinary surgeon at the former Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary, and as an Emergency Veterinary Medical Officer in Great Britain during the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.

Lou is an active member of the North American Nature Photography Association, National Association of Photoshop Professionals, Dimage, Digital Photo Artists, Sarasota Audubon Society, and Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Citizens Advisory Committee.  His work is held in several private collections and is on permanent display at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Pines of Sarasota, SMH Institute for Advanced Medicine, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, and Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay’s Smith Care Center.  He frequently participates in regional art gallery and photography exhibits. We’re proud he shares this wealth of photography with Plymouth Harbor on a regular basis.

A “Zest for Life” Snapshot

This Fall the Asolo Repertory Theatre kicked off its American Character Project, which runs from 2012 – 2017.  The project  opened with  the Tony-award winning musical “1776,” which brings to life the Second Continental Congress, and its work in declaring American independence. It was must-see for any lover of American history.

One Saturday night, Brian Becker, a Riverview High School student and member of the local CAR (Children of the American Revolution), escorted Plymouth Harbor resident Joanne Hastings to the Asolo Rep to see the show.

When asked about his evening with Joanne, Brian enthusiastically answered, “I feel that there is still so much more to learn from Joanne. She is truly a fascinating person who has a lifetime of experiences to share.”

Joanne Hastings

A Zest for Life

Joanne was equally impressed with her new young friend.  “I felt an incredible rapport with Brian,” exclaimed Joanne, “We had great discussions – Brian’s interest in Germany, and mine in France. We share interest in European culture and languages.”

Joanne was a long time member of the Colonel David Hall Chapter of the DAR in Delaware and remains active with the local Sara De Soto DAR chapter, which arranged this intergenerational outing.   “As a Delawarian, I felt Caesar Rodney was portrayed beautifully in the play,” Joanne confirmed. “He rode 70 miles on horseback July 1, 1776 in a blinding thunderstorm in order to cast the breaking vote for the Declaration of Independence.”

One of the distinguishing qualities of the residents of Plymouth Harbor is their drive to remain active in the community and follow their passions.  It’s what they call their “zest for life!”   Joanne is no exception as she has always sought to explore and enjoy life and the company of friends.

Joanne moved here from Delaware 8 years ago, first to The Glenridge to join friends Dr. Russell and Fran Seibert.  Despite the many attractive assets of The Glenridge, she felt drawn to Plymouth Harbor and now enjoys what she calls the “million dollar view” from her home on the 16th floor.

Prior to moving to Sarasota, Joanne lived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – where she and her husband retired after their careers. She had been an interior designer at DuPont  and he had been an engineer at Hercules, another of the chemical giants that make Delaware the capital of the world’s chemical industry.

An artist from her youth, Joanne studied at the Philadelphia College of Art and enjoyed a long career with DuPont as one of the pioneers in corporate interior design.  She says one of the highlights of her career was managing the restoration/redecoration of the Hotel DuPont using all the new DuPont nylon fibers and fabrics.

She and fellow resident Vera Kohn , both devoted Francophiles and members of the Alliance Francaise, have organized a monthly brunch where only French is spoken. Joanne has always enjoyed cultural interactions, a pastime she recalls fondly from her Delaware days where a group of couples met regularly for gourmet dinner and lively discussion about the arts. They called themselves “The Eclectics.”

No wonder Joanne feels so at home at Plymouth Harbor!  Would you care to guess how soon we’ll see a renaissance of The Eclectics at Plymouth Harbor? If Joanne has her wish, it’s right around the corner.

Move-In Date: September 22, 2011

John was in the gold business. It is tempting to visualize young John, pick axe in hand, but it was his grandfather who was in the Klondike gold rush, struck gold, and later started the Williams Gold Refining company in Buffalo, NY, in 1912. John was CEO of the business, which involved precious metals for the dental business, and highly sophisticated metals for the semiconductor industry, from 1958 until the business was sold in 1986. John got his flying license at the age of 17, butflew his father’s Waco biplane on floats when he was eight on their way up to their summer home on Kawagama Lake in Ontario. He needed three cushions to be able to see out of the cockpit. He continued flying all his life, and owned a series of planes. The last one was a pressurized Cessna P-210 which he and Ann, who is also a pilot, flew all over the US and Canada, and even flew to Alaska on a five-week odyssey.

John met Ann on Kawagama Lake where her father, a professor of geology at Colgate, also had a summer home. John was 20 and Ann was 17 when they met. For three years they were an item until John became an Air Intelligence Officer during the Korean War. By that time, John had earned his BS degree from Yale in Business Administration, having been elected as a junior to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa. John married, returned to Buffalo, and was the father of three children.

Meanwhile, Ann, who had grown up at Colgate University as a faculty kid, graduated from Skidmore College in 1953. She soon married, and supported about-to-be doctor husband. When they adopted two sons and a daughter, she became a full time house mother. With the exception of three stints around Washington, she lived in Columbia, MO, where her husband was Dean of the Medical School of the University of Missouri.

With the end of John’s marriage, he went looking for Ann. It seemed not to have taken much persuading to convince her to move to snowy Buffalo where they stayed until 1986 when they sold the business and moved to Bird Key. The Bird Key canal was home to a series of boats rigged for fishing and traveling, they cruised in the Bahamas for as much as six weeks at a time. With the larger boats gone, they had an electric powered boat for quiet cocktail trips around the Bird Key canals. Both boats and planes are now behind them, but their passion for bridge remains. Cooking for both of them, and for Ann, Mah Jongg, continue to be equally absorbing. Volunteer work has always been important in their lives. Ann’s chief commitment is to All Angels by the Sea. Her long term devotion to health care and to Hospice culminated two years ago as she was given the 20 year award by Hospice.

Can this busy pair work Plymouth Harbor activities into their schedule? They have many, many friends here already. John and Ann say they have simplified their lives so they will be real Plymouth Harbor residents.

We’ve made a few significant changes to the group exercise class schedule:

Starting November 1st

ALL group fitness classes are FREE of charge (This includes Tai Chi and Yoga)

A Great BALANCE Class! A significant number of residents have requested “balance” classes. Did you know that Tai Chi is an excellent form of exercise for balance and coordination? Are you not sure what Tai Chi is? Come by to observe, come by to try it out. These classes are held on Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m., and starting November 12th (no class November 5th) they’re FREE, so why not try it?

A NEW yoga class format! By request from several residents, I have asked Ami French (our yoga instructor) to change the current class to incorporate a more traditional class format, one that would appeal to the majority of yoga participants. She feels that she will also be able to tailor the new class to accommodate those who have been doing chair-yoga. So, all can now participate! Please come, starting Wednesday, November 2nd at 9:00 a.m. to try out the NEW yoga class and receive the numerous benefits of this type of exercise.

We hope that this NO-FEE policy for the Tai Chi and Yoga classes will entice more residents to participate in these excellent classes.

Plymouth Harbor, is excited to announce its new arts education and exhibition programs in conjunction with the Ringling College of Art + Design. This partnership is the first relationship of its kind and will kick off with a talk hosted by Dr. Larry Thompson, President of the Ringling College and Chair of the Sarasota County Arts Council alongside Jim Shirley, Executive Director of the Arts Council on Thursday, February 25.

The series of events was inspired by the new mural commissioned by Plymouth Harbor resident Robert Barkley from local artist Jeff Schwartz to adorn the sixteenth “colony” at Plymouth Harbor. Schwartz was impressed by the art-first approach the residents took when bringing him in: “They cleared all the fixtures and everything out of the space and agreed to let the work dictate the feel of the space rather than trying to choose art to match the paint, which is usually the case.”

After the unveiling of Schwartz’ mural, Dr. Ann Albritton, professor of art history at the Ringling College will be hosting a series of talks in March at Plymouth Harbor called “Viewing Modern Art,” followed this fall by an exhibition curated by Mark Ormond of the Ringling College Galleries.

Robert Barkley is a longtime resident of Plymouth Harbor and member of the Ringling College of Art + Design’s Board of Trustees. After a successful career in insurance and benefits, Barkley moved from Indiana to Sarasota in 1992 and began to nurture his love of fine art after experiencing the amenities of the cultural coast. Barkley is dedicated to sharing his passion with the residents of Plymouth Harbor and the Sarasota community.